Sam's experience as the latest café trainee

With financial support from Greenboard, we have been able to offer paid summer holiday opportunities for several young people to develop their skills in the live working environment that is the café. Here, we hear from Sam Miah, 16, who has just completed his 6 weeks as the Skip Garden Kitchen’s latest café trainee, writes Rachel Solomon.

Encouraged by his sisters, who had been on our programmes before, Sam joined Global Generation back in 2013, when he threw himself straight into his first experience with us at Pertwood. He followed this up with participation in our Urban Camps and many other activities as part of our flagship youth leadership programme, The Generator. Since then, he has been committed to the Skip Garden and shown a real interest in it as a place to – as Jane would put it – “change gear”. And after his completion of work experience with Eurostar earlier this summer and taking part in our photography project, the café traineeship provided Sam the perfect platform to apply his experience, interest, skills and open-mindedness to a job opportunity. Here are his reflections on what it’s been like for him.

I heard about the job of café trainee from the Youth Programmes team. I went for it because I thought it would be fun. I have been with Global Generation for going on three years as a Generator, which I liked doing, and I had worked in the kitchen many times and for different occasions. I’m good with people and kids love me – I get along with pretty much everyone (apart from Rachel – haha!) so I thought I would be suitable for the job.
The job’s been fun – I’ve done different kinds of stuff… front of house, back of house, building, fixing, working on event production – pretty much a wide range and lots of tasks that I wouldn’t have expected in another café traineeship somewhere else… the Skip Garden is that different – I’ve even worked on building a new part of the kitchen this week!
The skills I’ve learned include how to cook, how to work with others, how to rely on yourself and your team, how to think on your feet. Nothing has been too challenging for me, but I can’t say I’m a natural bread-maker – I kept getting the quantities wrong. But cooking-wise, I’m really good at making daal. I made it a few times and it’s sold out before… I do like to use a secret chilli addition that everyone likes! I’ve also enjoyed trying a few new things that I wouldn’t normally eat. Sadhbh’s quiche is my favourite.
I haven’t yet tried cooking lots of other things, and so I really hope to get a longer apprenticeship here so I can get the chance. I’m still figuring out what I’m going to do next, but while my friends are still at college, I would be very happy here learning more and building up my skills.
— Sam Miah